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Press release

Police Now celebrates Black History Month

Police Now celebrates Black History Month

Friday 27th October 2023

Lya Abdou Issa at Police Now's offices. She has just finished dancing and is standing still with her eyes closed. Staff can be seen in the background watching her perform, she is in a colourful outfit with a shell necklace and large flower earrings, with bold face makeup.
Lya Abdou Issa performing at PNHQ during Black History Month 2023

Police Now HQ colleagues marked Black History Month this October with a number of events and celebrations. This year’s theme for Black History Month is Saluting our Sisters, which pays homage to the Black women throughout history who have often been overlooked or had their voices silenced.

Lya Abdou Issa, aka Blkdiamondance – a dancer, choreographer, dance teacher and founder of ‘Dance Like Everyone Is Watching’ – performed for Police Now colleagues at October’s all-company monthly forum. Lya’s work aims to make people feel seen and celebrated in public spaces and empower others to reclaim their right to feel safe, beautiful and expressive in their own skin.

She said: “When I dance, I am telling the story of all of us Black women. It’s a story about reducing and shrinking yourself but also having the emotional energy to stay strong no matter what. It’s a story of sisterhood even when sisters around feel disconnected to you. I believe in this harmony and when I dance, I dance with all my family and ancestors around me. Even when we disagree, I believe and still believe that in order to grow as a human you need that community around you whether they support you with distance or walk by you. I waved at them during this dance, I acknowledge who I am and who made me when I dance.”

Police Now’s HR Manager, Akiebel Grant, shared an array of African and Caribbean food with colleagues on the day. She said: “I wanted to do something different for Police Now’s Black History Month celebration and share some of my Sierra Leone heritage, with a touch of the Caribbean, through food. We had traditional home cooked jollof rice and a Caribbean vegetable curry served with a side of fried plantain and slaw, washed down with pineapple and grape soda. A good time was had by all, I was proud to share part of my culture and heritage with my Police Now colleagues.”

Akiebel's homemade food

Information about influential Black women and their contributions to society was displayed with pride around PNHQ’s office and staff also took part in an evening Black History Walking Tour, aimed at highlighting the often-overlooked contribution from the Black community to London’s history.

As part of Police Now’s ongoing commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, a number of Police Now staff also attended training and development seminars during Black History Month to discuss important issues around microaggressions, inclusive work cultures, allyship and challenging our own and each other’s prejudices.

Police Now Performance and Development Coach Cate Gunn, who attended the seminars, said: “Educational discussions around themes such as challenging our perspectives, unconscious bias and delving deeper into the difference between not being racist and being anti-racist are important with an ambitious mission like ours. As a coach I aim to equip our frontline officers to feel comfortable having difficult and brave conversations, designed to educate others and address prejudice and discrimination.”

Police Now Performance and Development Coach Barry Smith also attended the seminars. He said: “As a Police Now coach, I help our frontline officers understand the importance of integrity, honesty, fairness and inclusivity. These values are the bedrock driving Police Now’s mission to improve policing culture and represent the communities we serve. I aim to empower our officers to live these values, which will help others start to grow a fairer and more inclusive society.”

Police Now continually seeks opportunities to celebrate different cultures and further educate colleagues in order to best support the incredibly diverse cohorts recruited onto Police Now’s three programmes. Aiming to increase diversity in policing, Black History Month is an important awareness opportunity.

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VICKIE CUSTY

Head of Media and Communications

HANA TUCKER

Media and Communications Assistant Manager

Devon & Cornwall Police

Police Now | Devon & Cornwall Constabulary
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Shaun Sawyer

Chief Constable

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